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Eagles striker racially abused in Italy

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Super Eagles and Crotone of Italy striker, Simeon ‘Simy’ Nwankwo is the latest African footballer in the Italian Serie A subjected to racial abuse on social media.

Nwankwo, 28, shared screenshots of abusive messages sent to him on Instagram after scoring in Saturday’s 3-2 home defeat by Bologna.

Speaking to BBC Sport Africa about the incident, the 2018 FIFA World Cup star said:”It’s sadly become a regular occurrence on social media but these hateful words have no place anywhere in society”.

This incident comes barely two weeks after Nwankwo’s Algerian team-mate Adam Ounas – on loan from Napoli – received racist abuse on social media following Crotone’s 4-2 win over Torino.

Nwankwo is the top-scoring African in the Italian top flight with 13 goals in 28 matches for bottom club Crotone.

He said social media abuse being directed at players was on the rise and that the authorities and social media companies needed to do more to identify the perpetrators.

“You can see it’s coming from ignorant [people]. We cannot let racist and hateful abuse become a normalised part of the game,” he added.

“I can’t believe how many of these unspeakable messages, from different users, send racist abuse at footballers.
“We can only hope that more efforts will be put in to ensure the general public and not just footballers feel safe on social media platforms.”

League organisers had shared an anti-racism video message, involving Ounas and Senegal’s Kalidou Koulibaly, across all platforms in Italy before this weekend’s games.

Facebook, which owns Instagram, has previously said it would take tougher measures to tackle the issue of online abuse.

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